Kirk o' Field

(Charteris Memorial Church)

The name Kirk o' Field has an exceptional history, but now refers to a church occupying premises on Brown Street at the top of the Pleasance on Edinburgh's South Side. This was built as the Charteris Memorial Church 1910-12, commemorating theologian The Very Rev. Prof. Archibald Charteris (1835 - 1908). The foundation stone was laid by Lord Glenconner, Lord High Commissioner of the General Assembly, on the 1st June 1911. However, it was originally founded in the 13th C. as the Collegiate Church of St. Mary in the Fields, attached to Holyrood Abbey and located in what is now the courtyard (or Quad) of Old College of the University of Edinburgh, a location confirmed by archaeological investigations in 2010. This older building fell from use around the time of the Reformation but its site is forever associated with the murder of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley (1545-67), the disreputable second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-87), who was set upon by his rivals most-likely with the support of the Queen.

Charteris Memorial Church was the work of James B. Dunn and features a distinctive Scots Baronial tower topped by a red-tiled spire. The present congregation came about through a series of mergers of a large number of churches in the South Side, which had come about through splits into the Burghers and Antiburghers (1747), Old Lichts and New Lichts (1798 and 1806) and the Disruption of 1843. By 1942, the congregations that had started life as Davie Street Antiburghers, Roxburgh Place Relief, St. Paul's Parish Church and Newington Free Church had come together to form St. Paul's Newington. The Charteris Memorial and Pleasance congregations united as Charteris Pleasance in 1953. Further unions with Buccleuch Parish Church and Nicolson Street Parish Church in 1969, and with St. Paul's Newington in 1984, eventually formed Kirk o' Field.

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